I bought this book to expand my capabilities with some already-familiar bacteria, i.e. Lactobacillus spp. I have a degree in biology, and I’ve been working with a sourdough culture that I’ve been nurturing since I worked as a baker in the Gaspé back in ’71. I’ve also made yogurt off and on for a couple of decades. Now that I’m retired and have a large garden, I’m interested
in food preservation, and fermentation strikes me as a wonderful technique: not only does it preserve my harvest, but it adds to it, in that the bacteria involved in fermentation provide, when consumed, an enhancement to my intestinal microbial ecology.
The Art of Fermentation is an absolute treasure. Sandor Ellix Katz, in writing it, has a solid foundation in his more than two decades of personal experience; his extensive network of friends, colleagues, mentors, and co-conspirators; and the research that he has undertaken in pursuing this practice. The book is extensively annotated and end-noted with referrals to scientific journals, which pleases the B.Sc. part of me. But mostly this book shares the hands-on experience of Katz and his network, in a manner that I found sublimely encouraging to “try this out,” and then “this,” and “that.”
The book is both broad in scope, covering fermentation practices from around the world, and deep, with an extensive bibliography and resources section at the back, to allow you to pursue any avenues of interest further. It is well-written, in a style that is both authoritative and exhilarating, but the actual joy of it is in the practice of fermenting foods under Katz’ guidance – a practice that is both enriching and empowering.
And folks, I’m here to tell ya – the food tastes great!!!